May 21, 2011
Steven Wilson of MainEventRadio.com
Stone Cold Steve Austin has been back in the squard circle rather frequently thus far in 2011. Currently hosting the reincarnation of the Tough Enough reality show series, and coming off of his guest referee spot at Wrestlemania, now Austin is stepping into the boxingring for his latest acting gig, a straight to DVD release entitled “Knockout."
In the film Austin plays a former pro boxer turned school janitor named Dan Barnes. The film begins with the lead character, Matthew Miller (played by Daniel Magder) on his way to his first day at his new public school in a new city. Having spent years in private school, Miller arrives in a suit and finds it hard to fit in, attracting the attention of the resident school bullies, most notably, the school’s boxing champ Hector Torres. Miller, meanwhile, has had an interest in boxing for years as his grandfather was once a successful boxer, but never had he thought about participating in the sport as his somewhat overprotective mother has held him close through the years following a battle with leukemia as a child.
Cue Stone Cold’s character, who as the school janitor steps in during a bullying incident between Matthew and the afformentioned Torres. With the encouragement and tutelage ofAustin’s character, Matthew trains and gets his chance to face Torres in the annual box off for a chance to make the school boxing team.
About 30 minutes into the film I found it hard to kick the feeling that I had seen this film before, then it dawned on me, this is WWE Films “Legendary” but with boxing instead of amateur wrestling and Steve Austin instead of John Cena. The surrounding story might be slightly different, but at its core they are identical movies. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing depends on what you personally thought of Legendary. For those that didn’t see it, what this basically boils down to is your typical inspirational family drama with a happy ending.
Like many of the straight to DVD films Austin has done since leaving WWE films, he is given a tailor made character to play so that itaccentuates his acting positives and hides the negatives. I've always been a big fan of Austin’s and because of this I did enjoythe film. Although I found the fact that Knockout is very similar to Legendary to be somewhat amusing considering that Austin had chosen to depart WWE films many years ago to chase his own career path, but has ended up doing the exact same films under various different banners. Then again he probably would not of gotten his spot in The Expendables without being independent, but I digress.
The DVD version of Knockout offers little in terms of DVD extras. A digital copy option is included as well as the film’s trailer, but nothing in terms of behind the scenes footage or featurettes. Ultimately I would call this a “Rent It”, but if you’re a big fan of Austin adding it to your collection won't hurt.